Archive for October, 2007

Steal A Pencil For Me

Ina 1940

The amazing journey continues. 



Steal A Pencil For Me is the title of a film recently released at Netflix. Shortly after the reunion Dr. Gross , liberator, received the following email:

Sent: Monday, September 24, 2007 10:53 AM
Subject: Train Magdeburg 1945

I was born in Amsterdam, Holland. We, my parents, older sister and I had been sent to Bergen Belsen from Westerbork where my father died in February 1945. At the time I was 10 years old and was together with my mother and older sister on the train you liberated, . I seem to remember that, coming back from searching for some food together with a cousin, we saw “somebody” with a gun running down a low hill and being told that this was an American soldier and that we were free!!!!! My memories are very vague, probably as a result of not talking about the camps for about 50 years until I realized, like many other people, that it was time to tell my children and grandchildren as much as I could remember. Last week I read the article in the Jerusalem Post, (in Israel) about you and Judge Walsh liberating “my train” on 13. April 1945. There are no words to say “thank you” that will express my feelings while reading about your experiences.. I sent the article together with links from the internet to my cousins Jack Polak and Ina Polak-Soep in New York and I am sure they will contact you directly. Thank you!!!!!!! J.W-S

I got a call from Ina about a film that was about to be released concerning her and her (future) husband’s Holocaust survivor story. It is a love story set in Bergen Belsen. Later, Jack was on the train liberated by the Russians and Ina was on the train liberated by the Americans.

Anyway, it is a beautiful story set against the tragic background of Belsen, although it has a happy ending… 60+ years of marriage. The production, storyline and cinematography is all top notch. The synopsis from the website:

“STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME is a compelling documentary feature film by Academy Award® nominee Michèle Ohayon about the power of love and the ability of humankind to rise above unimaginable suffering.

1943: Holland is under total Nazi occupation. In Amsterdam, Jack, an unassuming accountant, first meets Ina at a birthday party – a 20-year-old beauty from a wealthy diamond manufacturing family who instantly steals his heart. But Jack’s pursuit of love will be complicated; he is poor and married to Manja, a flirtatious and mercurial spouse.

When the Jews are being deported, the husband, the wife and the lover find themselves at the same concentration camp; actually living in the same barracks. When Jack’s wife objects to the relationship in spite of their unhappy marriage, Jack and Ina resort to writing secret love letters, which sustain them throughout the horrible circumstances of the war.

Jack: “I’m a very special Holocaust survivor. I was in the camps with my wife and my girlfriend; and believe me, it wasn’t easy.”

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